Arts Preview Theatre

Preview: TRIP 2023 by Esplanade – Theatres on the Bay

The Esplanade’s annual The Studios series is back again, continually presenting challenging, innovative and exploratory contemporary theatre and performance. Running since 2003, it has established a reputation for presenting thought-provoking works and giving space for theatre-makers to explore different issues in a variety of forms.

Come 2023 however, The Studios season is about to make a change, and in line with the recent opening of the new Singtel Waterfront Theatre at Esplanade, the team is introducing TRIP, a new programme aimed at supporting the next generation of theatre directors. Taking two early career directors under their wing, TRIP connects these theatremakers with an experienced creative and technical team, and providing them with a professional venue.

Following the open call for TRIP in May 2022, the Esplanade chose directors Sim Yan Ying “YY” and Renee Yeong, who will each be staging a work from an assigned pool of scripts this April.

YY will be directing Joel Tan’s No Particular Order, in its Singaporean premiere. An acclaimed play originally presented in May 2022 at London’s Theatre503, No Particular Order sees a despot come to power. The population is anxious, submissive and scared. But beneath every violation of civil liberty, there are real human beings; behind every act of resistance, there is an individual willing to risk everything. And these people aren’t heroic or remarkable – they’re just like us.

Starring Arielle Jasmine Van Zuijlen, Karen Tan, Pavan J Singh and Shrey Bhargava, through a series of vignettes involving the lives of bureaucrats, soldiers, artists and tour guides, No Particular Order charts the fate of a society in turmoil to ask at every step of the way: is it empathy, or power, that endures?

A week later, Renee Yeong will be directing Michelle Tan’s I am trying to say something true. Originally presented at the 2018 season of The Studios, I am trying to say something true follows the story of a woman, who after smashing her work computer in the office pantry in an uncharacteristic fit of rage, is now in therapy.

Now, Risa cannot go back to how she was living before, and must look back on her own life to look forward. What caused her to end up at this exact spot? Was it her Catholic ah ma whose funeral she skipped, her ex-girlfriend whom she loved deeply but broke up with, or her tendency to feel too much? Or maybe… something else entirely? So instead, this is a story about distance: the spaces between people and places, the gaps between past and present; and about living in the gulf between what we know and what we feel. Starring Sabrina Sng, Michelle Tan’s deeply intimate script promises to explore the complexities of personal truth and emotional vulnerability.

Before YY and Renee present a work of their choice in 2024, come see what both directors have to show in this exciting debut of the Esplanade’s TRIP programme, as they continue to nurture a new generation of directors and develop their careers.

No Particular Order plays from 1st to 2nd April 2023, while I am trying to say something true plays from 8th to 9th April 2023, both at the Esplanade Theatre Studio. Find out more about TRIP here

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